Circuit Court Improperly Considered Extrinsic Evidence in Interpreting Unambiguous Provisions of a Will.

 A son of the decedent challenged the circuit court’s interpretation of the decedent’s will, arguing that the court incorrectly considered extrinsic evidence, resulting in a lesser share distributed to his children. The appellate court agreed, ruling that the circuit court should not have relied on extrinsic evidence of intent where the will’s terms unambiguously provided the distribution scheme. Each child of the decedent (or their kin) was to receive 25 percent of the property remaining after payment of expenses. That amount, however, was to be reduced by the stated sum for each bequest, and the residue was to pass, in trust, to the son’s children. On remand, the circuit court was to direct the personal representative to distribute the property accordingly.   In re Estate of Christiansen, No. 2013AP1134, 2014 Wisc. App. LEXIS 348 (Wisc. Ct. App. Apr. 29, 2014).

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